26 September 2007
19 September 2007
Iowa. I'll have to admit it. I really like Iowa. I know that it is braking some law because I'm from Minnesota but I really like Iowa. I made my first stop in Manly, Iowa. With a name like that I just had to stop. It wasn't very manly but it was fun to see the sign. I continued driving until I had to stop again....Woolstock, Iowa. I just needed to see it. I was laughing to myself thinking "so this is where knitters go to party."
This piece made me cry it was so beautiful to look at. There was something so comforting about the colors and the movement of it. I think it was what I needed after having just been at the memorial. I also loved Neodymium Spears and Jerusalem Cylinders. I loved Chihuly's work before I went to see this exhibit but I'm even more in love with it now. After that I left Oklahoma City and continued on to Texas.
02 September 2007
So during announcements the church gave me a gift and told me how much they have enjoyed having me there. I preached my final sermon and at Peace we always end by saying "Shalom" and right after I said it the church gave me a standing ovation. I stood in the pulpit and cried but it was my first...well the first of all the lasts that I will be doing over the next 10 days.
I preached my final sermon at the VA here today and did my final Sunday service on the dementia unit. I've been walking around and lots of people have been saying goodbye and giving me hugs. I've heard dozens of "You can't go." and "I'm not letting you leave." It's harder than I thought it would be. I've only been here for a year and for me that is barely enough time to really get settled but somehow I did it. I got nice and comfy here in Saint Cloud, MN.
I have several friends here now who ask me daily to stay and why would I, why would anyone, want to move to Texas? They are going through the same process that I am and doing some grieving. My parents have become almost clingy in the last few weeks as I've been getting ready to go.
I really did think that it would be easier than this. That leaving wouldn't be so hard or sad but it is. I am excited to be going to San Antonio and looking forward to all the challenges that being there will bring, the new places and people, new ideas and ways of processing, a different landscape to paint this next part of my spiritual/physical/emotional journey on and I'll admit it I'm also looking forward to another 4 units of CPE.
As I go through this time of the lasts...I am also going through a time of firsts. It's true that a door doesn't close unless there is a window open.
25 August 2007
08 June 2007
This is the campus.
26 May 2007
Now please...don't I look like a twenty year old playing dress up? I had to go in the other night for a death that happened and this is how I was dressed. As I was at the nursing station writing the final chaplain note the doctor who came to pronounce looked at me and said, "Every time I see you I think 'This kid can't be the chaplain. She's just a teenager.' Then I remind myself that you are a young chaplain. I do have to say that the collar you are wearing gives you a bit more creditability." I wasn't sure how to take this comment or if it was positive affirmation or a slam. I now have something to think about.
22 May 2007
2. You know the suicide crisis phone number, the food shelf and the community shelter phone numbers right off the top of your head.
3. You know where to find "free" anything (cloths, food, equipment, transportation) but you are not eligible for any of them yourself.
4. You are considered an "expert" with financial assistance for your low-income individuals but you can't keep your own checkbook balanced.
5. Staff you work with will pull you aside and consult you on their "hypothetical" problem and you can't charge them for your advice.
6. You have a file or a list posted in your office on "Stress Reducing Techniques."
7. You see a patient/client outside the work setting you immediately avoid talking to them for fear they will tel you how "really bad" they are doing and make you feel obligated to follow-up with them later.
8. After a long week of solving other people's problems, you recognize that you haven't dealt with your own at home.
9. You don't know what "sick days" are and you call your vacation time "long mental health breaks."
10. You have community resource phone numbers at your fingertips but can't remember your kids' dentist, doctor or teachers' phone numbers.
11. The clinical staff find the patient/family situation appalling and in urgent need of intervention and in your "social work" opinion, you don't really think it's all that bad (and question what the fuss is all about?!)
~This list written by: Rena Sespene-Hinz LICSW
I thought that this was a trip and found myself transposing "social worker" with "chaplain." Can we come up with a "You May Be a Chaplain if..." or "You May Be a Pastor if..."
Because I've published two books with the Unitarian publisher, Skinner House, I occasionally get invited to preach at UU fellowships around the state. Humanists emerge from farmsteads and drive long distances to gather in tiny churches, often bough second-hand from Christian Scientists or other fringe congregations; they decorate the walls with religious symbols of every tradition, and light a candle at the beginning of the services to symbolize the flame of truth. I relish the chance to read Thoreau's words responsively on a Sunday morning. I admire the Unitarians terribly-after all, they (and not the more cautious Christan denominations) willingly publish my work.
And yet I must always be prepared in such circumstance to field the question, "How can you stay a Christian?" In other words, how can I, a bisexual woman with a sharp head on my shoulders, believe the Jesus-is-the-way claptrap and put up with the accompanying dogmatism of the institutionalized church? Unitarians are smart cookies; they acknowledge many paths winding toward one truth and have made a religion of this diversity. Those of us mired in a singe tradition, especially if an exclusive one, seem to them a bit primitive.
Here is my answer: I need story. Sure, Buddha's or Mohammed's story would work fine, but I've been given Jesus' story and I'm willing to stick it out. When people of faith commit to a story, we inhabit its ethos, its ethics, its characters and setting and circumstances; we accept the story's heritage, the burdens of its misuse and the glories of this unique path.
What Unitarians (and, incidentally, most fundamentalists) trip over is the seeming incompatibility of accepting many paths to one truth and believing the truth of one particular path. How, for instance, can a Christan believe Jesus is the way, truth, and life and at the same time honor the absolute integrity of Judaism? Ah, paradox!
Here's how I resolve this koan: God's a master story-teller. Great stories have arisen from the fabric of history and become faith traditions.
They are all true, and none are true. They're all perfect and flawed. Each on is worthy of a lifetime of immersion, because only from within a story can we fully appreciate its author.
Just because you have a high level of integrity and are willing to do the spiritual work required by your beliefs, don't think you are better than everyone else. Be careful about self-righteousness; it will only isolate you from those you love. It's healthier to realize that everyone is on their own path and is exactly where they should be at this time.
I hate when my horoscope looks me and says, "I told you so."